OK, here's the plan (if God is willing):

1) Every day will be a new devotional. I have enough devotionals for every day for three years

2) Also as I can, I'll be posting on my new political blog (see bottom of page).

Some other housecleaning:

A) If you'd like to just get new postings sent to your email, just submit your address in the box on the left just below. There's just one possible downside, though. Occasionally I'll add a music video at the end that's relevant to the devotional, and you won't get them in the email sent to you. If I add a video though, I'll make sure to mention in the posting, so you'll know to come to the site to see it if you'd like.

B) I actually finished writing new blog posting for the TAWG at the end of 2016. So what I'm doing now is at the beginning of every month, I'll move the earliest month from 3 years ago ahead so that a "new" posting appears every day. That's why you won't find any postings for January 2014, for example.

C) When I started this Blog, I was using the 1984 edition of the NIV, and that’s what I linked to on the Biblegateway site. However, in 2011 Zondervan updated its edition and thus reworded a lot of the NIV translation. Therefore, all the links which went to the 1984 edition now redirect to the 2011 edition, which often has slightly different wording. Thus, part of my editing process has been to update my Scripture quotes in my postings. But I might have missed some, in which case you might see my quote in the posting as a little different from what comes up when you click on my citation link, since that redirects to the 2011 edition on the Biblegateway site. It's a good thing that we realize that the work of translation never ends, but it can be a kind of a pain on a site like this. If you see any difference in verbiage between my quote and what shows up as a link on the Biblegateway site, or if you hover over a link and it has "NIV1984" at the end of it, please notify me and I'll correct it.

D) I can't believe I have to say this, but here goes. At the end of every posting is a suggested short prayer that has to do with what we discussed. This is actually what I've prayed when I finished writing it. In no way am I asking you to pray the exact verbiage of my suggested prayer. It's just a springboard for your own prayer, nothing more. Quite frankly, I've never been a fan of praying rote prayers written by someone else. As with everything else I do here, to the degree it helps, great; to the degree it doesn't, chunk it.

As always, thank you so much for reading, even if it's to read one post. God bless.

[June 03]—Question And Answer

Habakkuk 1:1-11

            Nobody likes a complainer, right? I’ve worked in several offices in my time, and it seems like in most of them there’s one doofus who loves to complain.  But when it comes to complaining to God, it gets a little. . .complicated.
            There are theologians and other big brains whom I greatly respect who say that all complaining is wrong and sinful. They point to passages like Romans 9:20—“But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “‘Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Of course, to add a wrinkle, Paul’s quoting a prophet here, which is ironic considering we’re looking at a prophet today who’s complaining—very loudly.
            But on the other side, how are we to deal with the Psalms? As we discussed before, you can find pure “praise” Psalms which have nothing but good to say about the world and how God is running it. But you have to look for those. Most of the Psalms have something to complain about, and either implicitly or explicitly they’re blaming the Lord for what’s happening, because, he’s. . . well, sovereign, right?
            Dennis Prager, a Jewish talk-show host I listen to, makes a strong point about Judaism vs. Islam. Islam means “submission,” and questioning Allah is not very encouraged. In contrast, Israel—stemming from Jacob’s all-night wrestling match—means “he struggles with God,” and it was after this wrestling match that God blessed him.
I came to the conclusion that it’s not the fact of complaining per se that’s the problem. It’s the attitude behind the complaint. Are we respectful? Do we acknowledge that he's good, that he has our best interests at heart, and that he really knows what he’s doing? Do we fully understand that when it comes down to it, he owes us nothing except judgment?
So that brings us to today’s passage. The prophet records a conversation he had with the Lord, one that wasn’t all sunshine and roses and kittens. He’s looking around, and what he sees isn’t pretty. The poor and needy are being trampled. God’s standards are being mocked and ignored. And worst of all—what always makes situations like this worse—it seemed like the Lord was silent. Was he blind to what was going on? Was he impotent to act? Or did he just not care?
The Lord finally responded, but not in the way Habakkuk was expecting. He was undoubtedly hoping to hear from the Lord that salvation was coming, that the Messiah was about to arrive, wrong would be made right, and God’s enemies would finally be given what they deserved.
No. The Lord told him that he was going to deal with the situation by. . .sending Babylon to come in, kill a lot of people, and carry off the rest into exile. God was going to hand Judah over to the Babylonians, and these ruthless thugs would have a free hand.
And let’s be clear about this. The Scripture is not presenting the Lord as just “allowing” these things to happen. God was coming to judge his people, and he was using Babylonian soldiers as his tools.
I’m trying to imagine Habakkuk’s face when the Lord gave his response to the complaint. He was complaining about injustice in society, and it seemed like God was going to make it worse! We’ll get to the prophet’s second complaint tomorrow, but for now, let’s ponder this for a moment. When we question the Lord about what he’s doing, we should be mindful of this: We might not like his answer. His ways are as far above our ways as the heavens are above the earth. He really knows what he’s doing. Instead of asking for a specific answer, maybe we’re better off just trusting in him and knowing that he does all things well. To our knowledge, God never gave a direct answer to Job as to why he experienced the things he did. Instead, the Lord had a face-to-face encounter with Job and showed Job his incredible wisdom and sovereignty, and that was enough.
Instead of asking for a specific answer, maybe what I need is more of him.

Lord Jesus, you’re my Shepherd, and I trust you. Or at least I want to. I do believe, please help my unbelief. 

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